Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Making Sense of Print Mixing

Print Mixing Guide

Today, I thought I would talk about print mixing. It can be quite tricky and frustrating to try and match prints and patterns to one another without overdoing it. Hopefully this little guide will help you in your quest to becoming a print-mixing master! I have come across many different rules with regard to print mixing, but they usually focus on what doesn’t work. So, totally useless… I say prints are pretty much mixable across the board. Here are my simple tips on how to make sense of it all. 


1. Match colours, not prints

To keep your mixed prints looking chic instead of confused, try keeping them in the same colour family. If two colours look good together, then odds are prints of the same colours would also look good together. They don’t all have to be the same shade, but by sticking to a palette it will ensure your look is seamless and your prints blend more easily.

Same colour family (navy and baby blue)

Colours that go together well teal and coral)


That said, you’ll never go wrong with black and white, they go with everything!

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2. Simple graphic prints

The simpler and more graphic the print, the easier it is to mix. This is the reason why stripes (especially black and white ones) go with everything! Their simplicity pretty much makes them the neutral of prints. Graphic prints go well with one another and also with more organic prints such as florals, animal prints and polka dots. Pairing a more rigid print with a bolder organic one will create contrast. A complicated print (think ikat) mixed with a simple basic print (thin stripes) creates a visual impact, while also giving your look fluidity.

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Think of some patterns and textures as solids. Garments in a houndstooth print can be considered solid. Same goes for small polka dots and thin stripes or checks. The print is understated and small enough that the eye can perceive them as solids, even though they are technically not. 

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3. Print size matters

An easy way of mixing prints is to match up a big print with a smaller one. The contrast of big and small will make a strong statement, without being overwhelming. This pairing will add dimension instead of competition and will create visual interest. Varying the scale of the prints or patterns creates balance. Avoid mixing two large prints as they can overpower your outfit and make you look wider. On the other hand, mixing two or more small prints can give your look an overall busy appearance. 

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Not only does the size of a print matter, but so does its density. Rather than mixing two or more dense prints, try matching a dense print to a sparse one. When combining a dense print to a sparse one, the prints balance each other out as one becomes the focal point and the other the sidekick. 

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4. Easy does it

Since print mixing can be a bit tricky at first, a simple tip would be to spread the prints across your outfit. I’m not saying you can’t wear a printed top with a printed jacket. You definitely can! I’m simply saying that if you find your look is getting a bit busy, try distributing the prints by wearing one on top and one on the bottom. If print-on-print is just too much for you, try breaking them up with solid-coloured clothes or accessories to tone down and ground your look.

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For beginner print-mixers, I suggest sticking with a maximum of two prints at a time. Work your way up to three prints if you're an intermediate fashionista. While it can feel somewhat liberating to pair various prints and patterns into an outfit, mixing four or more prints is asking for trouble! When pairing three of more prints, chose one dominant print to build off. Try finding other items that match your main print, even if they don’t quite match one another, the overall look will remain cohesive. 

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No matter who you are, famous or not, you have to commit to your outfit. If you are not confident in the clothes you are wearing, people will notice, and not for the right reasons. If you are unsure, or doubt your ability to pull off mixed prints, DON’T WEAR IT! Start slowly by following some of the simpler techniques and build on the basics. For those who are more daring, channel your inner divas and give it your all! Stand tall, shoulders back and walk with confidence! 

Own that look!

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